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A Swarm of Cyborg Cockroaches will be Tested in Rescue Operations

Employees of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore presented a swarm of cyborg cockroaches, controlled at a distance and capable of confidently walking towards a target on a sandy test site. Scientists are confident that in the future this technology may find application in search and rescue operations.

Researchers have equipped Madagascar cockroaches with “backpacks” that allow them to remotely control the insects via a computer. The “backpacks” transmitted commands through electrodes on each side of the cockroaches’ sensory organs, telling them which direction to move.


The authors of the experiment managed to control the behavior of a flock of 20 cyborg cockroaches, forcing them to move in one direction. As part of the test “trip”, the software appointed several cockroaches as leaders – they were followed by the rest of the flock. And although the cockroaches were simply directed left or right, they still confidently found familiar ways to avoid obstacles. In some cases, they even helped their comrades who had turned over on their backs, turning them back over.

According to the authors of the experiment, such a swarm could be used in search and rescue operations after natural disasters, as well as for measuring environmental indicators. The authors of the idea want to go even further and use cyborg crabs for future operations.

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